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Part II: Whiteboards and Doodling in the Workplace

Social Media giant, Facebook Inc. is one of the companies taking advantage of the doodling trend, and are incorporating whiteboards, glass whiteboards and even chalk boards on all sorts of spaces around its office to spark creativity. Everett Katigbak, a communication designer at Facebook, says “the hand is the easiest way to get something down,” and the company’s office is filled with doodles ranging from statistical and mathematical equations all the way to cat and dog cartoon sketches. In fact, most of Facebook’s office walls have been coated in dry-erase paint or glassboards to promote creativity at every turn.

Other companies are also realizing and reaping the benefits of doodling. Software maker, Citrix Systems Inc opened a “design collaboration” workspace in its headquarters last summer, where they encouraged their engineers and other employees to put down the smartphones and gadgets and to pick up a marker. Not all employees have loved the idea, especially those who believe they are less artistically-inclined or creative than their colleagues; however participants at Citrix are encouraged to start off meetings with drawing a self-portrait or simple sketch to get their more comfortable with the idea. Many managers love the idea, and think its natural to want to illustrate your point. For that reason, Citrix has surfaces covered in whiteboards and glass whiteboards, to make doodling easy. They even take the idea one step further and keep pipe cleaners and foam balls handy to help create 3-D models.

Still, some companies haven’t had the greatest transition with the concept, and have created workshops for managers to learn the simple ideas of doodling for communication. Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, Michigan held a workshop for technology managers to learn the ins and outs of what they call “visual problem solving.” This workshop showed managers that even simple images like stick figures and arrows can help explain the complexities of the healthcare industry. For the sake of time and simplicity, many companies encourage rough sketches and doodles, since you’re only trying to convey an idea, not paint a beautiful picture.

All kinds of companies are realizing the benefits of sketching and adding visual representations to their offices. Turner Broadcasting System Inc. drew a Turner Classic Movies tree, which branched out in three different directions, helping show the direction the brand was going. This simple exercise yielded over 200 ideas and many employees felt the visual was extremely powerful.

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